Handbook of Reference Works in Chinese Studies

Robert Eno
May 2012

The files linked from this page are materials prepared for a graduate course in research on traditional China. They are tailored for the library resources at Indiana University, including Library of Congress call numbers, but should be adaptable to any US research library. These materials are not intended to supplant published research guides in English and Chinese. In particular, they cannot substitute for the best of these: Endymion Wilkinson, Chinese History: A Manual (Revised and Enlarged Edition, Cambridge, Mass.: East Asian Research Center, Harvard University, 2000). Wilkinson's manual is far stronger in coverage, accuracy, and scholarship. Recent additions to these materials continually refer the reader to Wilkinson's exceptional text. There are, nevertheless, some areas that these materials cover in detail that are not treated with equal attention in Wilkinson, and, until Wilkinson issues a new revision, these materials, last updated in 2011, are in some respects more current (of course, all are now at least a year old and dating rapidly - sections concerning online sources are already of museum quality). [Wilkinson has indeed updated his manual: Chinese History: A New Manual (2013).]

Oh no! Why are these materials all in Wade-Giles transcription?

There are three excellent reasons for this. First, the materials were compiled over multiple decades, during the early portion of which Wade-Giles was the standard used in library catalogues; for the sake of consistency, the transcription was kept uniform as new materials were added. Second, these have been used as teaching materials: over time, students have become increasingly unfamiliar with Wade-Giles and reluctant to consult valuable older scholarship that employs it; exclusive use of Wade-Giles in these materials (and in course exercises) has ensured that students would become fully familiar with the transcription system. Third, I am too lazy to undertake a conversion to pinyin. (A conversion guide appears on pp. 5-6 of the first selection: "Introductory Charts.")

N.B. Unlike published guides, no second editorial eye has reviewed the pages linked here. The material has grown by accretion, inviting the retention of items that have been superseded and doubtless some duplication. For nearly thirty years I have been finding, correcting, and introducing errors that reflect everything from inadequate typing skills to inadequate scholarship. In battling to conquer these errors, I have found myself perpetually outnumbered, and can now only retreat apologetically to the cover of caveat lector.

1.  Introductory Charts 
7.   Traditional Bibliography
2.  Guides, Manuals, Surveys of the Field
8.   Bibliographies of Contemporary Sources
3.  Dictionaries 
9.   Western Sinology and Field Journals
4.  Philological Studies, Paleography, and Etymology
10.  East Asian Chinese Studies Journals
5.  Confucian Classical Studies
11.  Ts'ung-shu
6.           HISTORY
12.  Encyclopaedias
            I: Basic Categories and Sources 
13.  Literary Studies 
          II: Sources for Biography
14.  Buddhism  
        III: Imperial Era Epigraphic Sources
15.  Taoism and the Tao-tsang 
        IV: Later Court Sources
         V: Local History
        VI: Technical Aids